NEWS SCAN: Salmonella rapid test, repeat campylobacteriosis, anti-vaccine movement, e-immunization info

Jan 13, 2011

FDA approves rapid test for Salmonella
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a rapid test for Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) developed by Neogen Corp., the company announced yesterday. SE was the strain implicated in the 550-million-egg recall last year in an outbreak involving at least 1,939 salmonellosis cases. The test, called Reveal for SE, is designed to shorten testing time while complying with the FDA's recently implemented SE regulations. The FDA determined the test was "equivalent to the FDA's traditional testing method in accuracy, precision, and sensitivity for detecting SE," according to a company press release. "The FDA's determination of equivalency further validates our test as an invaluable tool to egg producers, as they comply with the FDA's new regulations, and seek to further reduce the likelihood of SE-contaminated eggs reaching consumers," said Ed Bradley, Neogen's vice president of food safety, in the release. "Until our introduction of an effective rapid test for SE, the industry had to wait up to 7 days for an outside laboratory's test results," he added. Neogen's food safety division is headquartered in Lansing, Mich.
Jan 12 Neogen press release
Aug 2010 FDA SE draft guidance

Study tracks recurrent campylobacteriosis
Having a Campylobacter infection could put patients at risk for recurrent infections for 4 years after the first illness, researchers from Canada reported yesterday in BMC Public Health. They gauged infection patterns by analyzing lab-confirmed campylobacteriosis cases in Quebec between 1996 and 2006. The risk didn't vary by gender, but the group found that it was higher in people from rural areas and lower in children younger than 4. They suggested that the first infection might impair durable immunity or clinical resilience.
Jan 12 BMC Public Health abstract

Experts urge combating anti-vaccine movement with sound science
Those who make unsupported claims of harm from vaccines have caused significant damage to public health and must be countered with good science and thorough surveillance, according to a commentary in today's New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The perspective piece, written by Gregory Poland, MD, and Robert Jacobson, MD, of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minn., points out that anti-vaccine sentiment is nothing new. Since the 19th century fear and mistrust have accompanied every new vaccine but ebbed from the 1940s to the early 1980s as vaccine science blossomed and outbreaks of serious diseases like smallpox, measles, and polio were dramatically curbed or wiped out. They point out, though, that anti-vaccine sentiment has grown in recent years and doesn't seem to be thwarted by such developments as the recent debunking of a high-profile Lancet study that at the time purportedly linked the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism. "As a result," they write, "a generation of parents and their children have grown up afraid of vaccines, and the resulting outbreaks of measles and mumps have damaged and destroyed young lives." The anti-vaccine movement also played a role in the low uptake of pandemic 2009 H1N1 vaccine and has led to a resurgence of pertussis and other diseases, they add. They offer a four-pronged solution: (1) continue funding solid studies; (2) maintain adverse-event reporting systems; (3) teach professionals, patients, and parents how to counter anti-vaccine claims; and (4) enhance public education and persuasion.
Jan 13 NEJM perspective
Jan 6 CIDRAP News article on debunking the MMR vaccine–autism link

CDC notes rise in electronic immunization info system usage
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that the number of US children under age 6 who are covered by an electronic immunization information system (IIS) has risen slightly, from 75% in 2008 to 77% in 2009. The findings are part of an annual CDC survey of its 56 federal IIS grantees, which appeared today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). An IIS is useful for tracking vaccine coverage, which helps health officials plan and execute vaccination campaigns. Practitioners can use IIS to send patient vaccine reminders and track overdue immunizations, and the system also has the capacity to link to patients' electronic health records. The survey also found that 59% of grantees can send and receive messages that meet Health Level Seven (HL7) standards, which promote uniform and consistent data sharing across different computer systems. A federal Healthy People 2020 goal is for 95% of children under age 6 to have their immunization records housed in an IIS.
Jan 14 MMWR report

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